Deep Space Nine finally catches up to Netflix

Deep Space Nine, the bleaker vision of the future in the Star Trek franchise of all the Star Trek TV series, has finally been released on streaming video via Netflix.  All the rest of the Star Trek live action series–Star Trek the original series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise have been available since July 1.

I think Deep Space Nine suffered from a lot of things that didn’t meet the approval of fans of the other Star Trek series.  I liked the characters on Deep Space Nine, especially Jadzia Dax, Martok and Gul Dukat, but sometimes the episodes got too heavy-handed, and I felt like the show took itself too seriously, and in turn became too bleak for the positive vision of the future seen in the other series.  My least favorite character in any series was Kai Wynn.  Good villains need to give us some reason to at least understand what it would be like to be in their shoes.  The phrase “villains you love to hate” is different from villains you just plain hate.  I couldn’t watch Kai Wynn’s episodes as I thought she was too vile to be a leader of anything and I just couldn’t stop seeing Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  (Did Louise Fletcher’s agent ever get that poor actress a role as a sweet lady?)  On the other hand Gul Dukat and the race of Cardassians and Jem’Hadar made great villains, that is, until Dukat killed off Jadzia Dax.

I thought there was too much focus on Bajorans, and I did not like the storylines with: Sisko as a religious prophet, Bashir as a James Bond character, those shape-shifting Founders, Bashir as a super genius, Odo and Kira as a love interest, Kira and Gul Dukat friendly with each other even remotely (I often wondered how Nana Visitor could play the part knowing her Bajoran character’s  past with the Cardassians), battles too grand and epic to be understood and to fit on a TV screen, and too many Ferengi-focused episodes.  It sounds like I don’t like Deep Space Nine.  I actually do like it, but it is just my least favorite Trek series.  The truth is I would probably watch any bad Trek episode over most anything else on TV. That said there are a lot of great reasons to watch DS9 for the characters and the better episodes.

Here are the best episodes I remember from Deep Space Nine, which I saw in the initial airing or in reruns a few years later, and look forward to watching again:

1.  “Trials and Tribble-ations,” Season 5, Episode 6 – The care given to this episode, and almost reverence to the Original Series episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” causes this bridging of two series to be one of the top episodes created for any Star Trek series. Klingon-posing-as-human Arn Darvin returns to use a Bajoran Orb to transport the Defiant back in time to the era of Kirk & Co. and the original starship Enterprise.  The DS9 officers must infiltrate the Enterprise and space station K7 to stop Darvin from assassinating Kirk, and at the same time must prevent the timeline from being altered.  All scenes with Jadzia Dax are brilliant and the buddy scenes with Bashir and O’Brien are their best team-up in the series, especially when they are dressed down by Kirk himself and Bashir has an “encounter” in the turbolift with a possible ancestor.

2.  “The Visitor,” Season 4, Episode 3 – An accident in the Defiant’s engine room causes Sisko to disappear before Jake’s eyes. When Ben begins appearing to him for a few minutes at a time, with years between appearances, it becomes clear that he is not dead, but trapped in subspace. Tony Todd, who was previously perfect as Worf’s brother Kurn on Star Trek: The Next Generation, plays the older Jake brilliantly and makes this a beloved episode like the “Inner Light” episode from TNG.

3.  “Duet,” Season 1, Episode 19 – A great espionage and mystery episode. Kira realizes that one of Bashir’s patients is a Cardassian slave labor overseer who was stationed on Bajor.  Kira places him under arrest to learn the Cardassian is the man who authorized the genocidal killings of Bajorans.  The counterpoint between Kira and her prisoner makes for great intrigue, but the story’s true strength is its examination of responsibility and guilt.

4.  “Second Skin,” Season 3, Episode 5 – Kira is captured and transported to Cardassia Prime, where she wakes up in the guise of a Cardassian woman. She is told that she is, in fact, a Cardassian by birth whose deep cover spying assignment necessitated her cosmetic alteration to look like a Bajoran rebel.  Several DS9 plots seem to be reworked TNG episodes, and this one plays a bit like Counselor Troi as a Romulan–but both are still fun to watch.

5.  “Tacking into the Wind,” Season 7, Episode 22 – Worf kills Gowron to become chancellor of the Klingon Empire but immediately hands rule over to Martok.  Other stuff happens in this episode but to see Worf finally get to be a full-blooded Klingon is a nice change.  Visually beaten up Martok is a classic, almost epic, choice to rule the Empire.  Worf had to do so many dumb things over the course of his episodes on TNG and DS9 that it was nice to see Dorn allowed to act in some great scenes and situations here.   Note:  A lot of this episode and tangents have this long, drawn out epic Romulan vs. Cardassian vs. Klingon vs. Bajoran vs. Starfleet storyline and I found that my favorite parts of DS9 were the single story episodes, so there is not a lot I have here that is of the ongoing variety.

6.  “Improbable Cause,” Season 3, Episode 20 – Odo and Garak discover ex-Obsidian Order mastermind Enabran Tain when Garak thinks that Tain may also be target of an assassin.  Andy Robinson was a great villain as Clint Eastwood’s nemesis in the original Dirty Harry, so it is fun to see what he was able to do when the writers focused on his character Garak in DS9.

7.  “Little Green Men,” Season 4, Episode 8 – One of the all-time top 5 best Star Trek episodes is TNG’s “Darmok,” in part because it deals with the one thing humanity has the hardest time with, communication, which Star Trek refused to deal with because of the magical universal translators since the original series.  In two of the best Ferengi episodes, later Enterprise’s “Acquisition” and here with “Little Green Men,” we get to experience the Ferengi language and realities of the basic problems of communication between different cultures.  This is also an episode that harkens back to the original series returning to Earth.   Quark, Rom and Nog, whether you like them in other episodes, are in their best form in this episode.  Roswell in 1947.  A fun romp.

8.  “The Sword of Kahless,” Season 4, Episode 9 – Together, original series Kor, Jadzia Dax, and Worf go to a planet in search of the legendary Sword of Kahless.  But they have been followed there by Toral.  Toral was the last member of the House of Duras, who at one time tried to seize power and failed, with Worf letting him off easy.  The House of Duras ended up being a great foil for the other competing Klingon factions over the course of TNG and DS9 and even Star Trek: Generations.  Like TNG’s “Captain’s Holiday” and the quest for the Tox Uthat, this is a fun episode about discovery.

9.  “Sons and Daughters,” Season 6, Episode 3 – The once wimpy and anti-warrior Alexander Rozhenko returns trying to prove himself as a Klingon.  The distance between his early appearances and the length of time that allowed someone like him to return was a testiment to the longevity of the Star Trek franchise.  Different actors played Alexander, but it makes you want to see a “where are they now” of Toral and Alexander.

10.  “You are Cordially Invited…,” Season 6, Episode 7 – The wedding of Worf and Dax.  Great costumes and ceremony.  This was also the beginning of the end of the top episodes.  When Jadzia is later killed off it makes it hard to keep watching the series…

…so on that note, it’s time to queue up the Netflix and give it another go!

C.J. Bunce



    • Joachim, thanks for the comment! I have several friends who count DS9 as their favorite show, too. I go back and forth between TNG and VOY as my faves.

  1. Jadzia is my favorite as well from DS9 (along with Worf). She’s such a brilliant, strong, independent, wise, funny and beautiful character. Great list of episodes, i would probably add A Call to arms, A time to stand, Change of Heart, Children of Time etc. It’s hard to chose only ten. TNG is my favorite series. I love DS9 but I agree with you, I found the religious Bajoran episodes boring and I didn’t like the wrap up of the path’wraith at all or the fact that they killed Jadzia. Now I’m starting Voyager.

    • Thanks for the comment, Annie!. I like the actress that played Ezri Dax but Jadzia just couldn’t be replaced, IMHO. And I love re-watching Voyager. Especially love the episode Heroes and Demons.

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